Before I go to sleep : a novel / S.J. Watson.
Booklist Reviews 2011 March #2
*Starred Review* Forty-seven-year-old Christine Lucas awakens each morning believing she is still in her twenties and single. She suffered a terrible accident that has severely impaired her memory. She doesn't recognize Ben, the man who tells her he is her husband; she doesn't remember that she had a son; and, worst of all, she does not feel comfortable in her own skin, appalled by her wrinkled face and old-lady clothes. But it turns out she has been getting some help with her memory problem. Dr. Nash calls her every day after Ben leaves for work to tell her where to retrieve her journal, which contains key details about her previous life and work. The most upsetting thing she learns from her journal, however, is that certain facts don't match the story Ben has been telling her. But how can she be sure he is deceiving her when she can barely hold on to the threads of her own life? This mesmerizing, skillfully written debut novel from a British author works on multiple levels. It is both an affecting portrait of the profound impact of a debilitating illness and a pulse-pounding thriller whose outcome no one could predict. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Prepub buzz, including raves from Dennis Lehane and Tess Gerritsen, will combine with a no-holds-barred marketing campaign to ensure that this stellar debut receives the attention it deserves. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.
LJ Reviews 2011 January #1
Nearly strangled to death in her twenties, Christine awakens each morning with absolutely no memory of what happened then—or since. The stranger in her bed must explain that he is her husband, Ben. With the help of a doctor who determines to circumvent Ben, Christine starts a journal—though she must reread it each day, and the doctor must call to tell her where it is. The truth she uncovers is nothing like you'd expect. I've seen this debut, and, yes, it's a gripping, one-sitting psychological thriller. The publishers in 34 countries that have bought the rights, plus Ridley Scott, who's producing the film, can't all be wrong.[Page 63]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
LJ Reviews 2011 May #1
Christine Lucas suffers from a rare form of amnesia as the result of a vaguely defined accident. Each night as she sleeps, her near-term memory is wiped clean, and she awakens knowing little about who she is, where she is, or with whom she lives. Every day her husband, Ben, shares with her the same carefully rehearsed story of their long marriage and gently encourages her struggle to remember. She keeps a journal at the recommendation of her doctor and reads it each morning. As the journal grows, Christine begins to suspect that Ben is not telling her the complete truth about her accident, their son Adam, her successful career as a novelist, or the fire that destroyed the collection of family photos that might help her remember. It is only when she reconnects with an old friend that she learns the truth and escapes her increasingly frightening and violent captivity. VERDICT This debut novel takes an intriguingly fresh look at the amnesia-focused psychological thriller. Though the climax seems a bit hurried, this is nonetheless a captivating and highly suspenseful read, populated with believable characters who lead the reader through a taut, well-constructed plot. Movie rights have been sold to Ridley Scott. Gaslight fans take note. [For another thriller about memory problems, see Alice LaPlante's Turn of Mind; see also Barbara Hoffert's interview with Harper editor Claire Wachtel, who acquired Watson's novel (bit.ly/f2kP2T).—Ed.]—Susan Clifford Braun, Bainbridge Island, WA[Page 78]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
LJ Reviews 2012 June #1
Christine is another woman trying to reclaim a life gone to pieces. After a mysterious accident, she wakes up each morning with no memory. Her husband Ben repeatedly explains the details of their life together, but the next morning all is lost once again. One day Christine discovers that she has been keeping a journal and the terrifying words she has written there, "Don't trust Ben," throw everything into question. VERDICT Relentless pacing in Watson's intriguing debut psychological thriller draws the reader into Christine's race to figure out who to trust and how to recover her life.[Page 97]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Wanna getcher mind blowed up? Try this. Our British heroine wakes up every day without being able to recall the past 20 years or so. Thinking she's about 25, Christine tiptoes into the bathroom after skeeving out because she's sleeping next to some OLD guy. She freaks out seeing a 45-year-old version of herself in the mirror. The aforementioned old guy (her husband) calms her down and informs her that she's an amnesiac who forgets everything right after she goes to sleep at night. He goes to work, she chills out. Repeat. Repeat again. With the help of a detailed journal and a doctor, Christine remembers a little further back every day, from little things like, "Gee, how do I take my coffee?" to big issues like, "How the hell did this happen to me?" Was it a car crash, like her husband says, or a violent attack, as she distantly remembers? Ditto on the fire that supposedly destroyed family pictures; ditto on whether she has a son. Could she really forget having a son? Is her husband lying? Protecting her? This is a positively addictive thriller, and Christine's unreliability as a protagonist only heightens the mystery and the reader's enjoyment. Watson skillfully keeps all the details straight and accelerates the pace as Christine learns-and relearns-who she really is. - Douglas Lord, "Books For Dudes", Booksmack! 8/4/11 (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
LJ Reviews Newsletter
Christine is another woman trying to reclaim a life gone to pieces. After a mysterious accident, she wakes up each morning with no memory. Her husband Ben repeatedly explains the details of their life together, but the next morning all is lost once again. One day Christine discovers that she has been keeping a journal and the terrifying words she has written there, "Don't trust Ben," throw everything into question. VERDICT Relentless pacing in Watson's intriguing debut psychological thriller draws the reader into Christine's race to figure out who to trust and how to recover her life. — "Summertime, and the Reading Is Easy" LJ Reviews 6/7/12 (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
PW Reviews 2011 May #1
Memories—real, false, and a bit of both—are at the heart of British author Watson's haunting, twisted debut. Christine Lucas awakens each morning in London with no idea who she is or why she's in bed with a strange man, until he tells her that his name is Ben and they've been married for 22 years. Slowly, Christine learns that she has amnesia and is unable to remember her past or retain new memories: every night when she falls asleep, the slate is wiped clean. Dr. Nash, her therapist, has encouraged her to write in a journal that she keeps secret from Ben. Christine realizes how truly tangled—and dangerous—her life is after she sees the words "don't trust Ben" written in her journal, whose contents reveal that the only person she can trust is herself. Watson handles what could have turned into a cheap narrative gimmick brilliantly, building to a chillingly unexpected climax. (June)[Page ]. Copyright 2010 PWxyz LLC